“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome.”
Walt Disney spoke these words during the dedication of the Disneyland Resort in 1955. Today, more than 65 years later, they continue to inspire us – and remind us that the magic we make must include everyone.
It’s important to me to share how we’re creating a place where everyone is welcome and taking action to create meaningful change.
We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney. And we want our cast members – and future cast members – to feel a sense of belonging at work.
That means cultivating an environment where all people feel welcomed and appreciated for their unique life experiences, perspectives and culture. Where we celebrate allyship and support for each other. And where diverse views and ideas are sought after as critical contributions towards our collective success.
But as with everything we do, this starts with actively listening, learning, and working with our cast and guests to imagine the possibilities.
In 2019, we actively solicited input from our cast members from all over the world – to bring a greater focus to inclusivity and belonging for our cast. They brought forward more than 100 ideas, including one I’d like to share with all of you today.
Every Disney Parks cast member is familiar with our longstanding tradition of The Four Keys – Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency – which have guided our approach to guest service for more than 65 years. The Four Keys are one of the first things that cast members learn about when they join Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and they are regularly reinforced throughout their tenure. Each cast member is asked to use The Four Keys as the blueprint for the decisions they make during the workday and the approach they bring to their interactions with others. Cast members around the world know them by heart and live by them in their roles every day as they create amazing experiences for our guests.
And when we asked our cast how we could better cultivate a culture of belonging, they suggested the addition of a fifth key: the key of Inclusion. Like The Four Keys before them, The 5 Keys – with Inclusion at the heart – will continue to guide us as we interact with guests, collaborate together, create the next generation of Disney products and experiences, and make critical decisions about the future of our business.
Inclusion is essential to our culture and leads us forward as we continue to realize our rich legacy of engaging storytelling, exceptional service, and Disney magic.
We’re bringing the spirit of the Inclusion Key to life across our business. We’re reimagining our attractions to be more inclusive, like upcoming enhancements to Jungle Cruise and new adventures with Princess Tiana. We’re celebrating the diverse and inspiring stories of our cast and fans with creator collaborations and exciting experiences, like The Soul of Jazz exhibit at Walt Disney World Resort.
We’re also looking at ways we can support and uplift our communities through programs like our Disney Dreamers Academy mentorship programs, and we’re including more diverse companies in our supply chain. In fact, we’re looking at ways to increase our support for diverse suppliers in a big way – we’ll share more details on this commitment in the future.
Our goal is also to have more representation and accountability across our organization, starting with my own leadership team and extending throughout our business worldwide, through tools and mentorship and learning programs that create awareness and foster leadership accountability.
We’re looking at other traditions, too – including the policies that guide how our cast members show up for work. Our new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos. We’re updating them to not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work.
Moving forward, we believe our cast, who are at the center of the magic that lives in all our experiences, can provide the best of Disney’s legendary guest service when they have more options for personal expression – creating richer, more personal and more engaging experiences with our guests.
This is just the beginning as we continue to work toward a world where we all belong – including a more diverse and inclusive Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. There’s more to do, but we’re committed to listening, learning and making meaningful improvements.
The world is changing, and we will change with it, and continue to be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world. We’ll never stop working to make sure that Disney is a welcoming place for all. I’m excited about where we’re headed, and we’ll have more to share soon. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
First time I read about this and told a friend they started with the “what about… “. I reminded them that the parks are always evolving and being inclusive with guests and cast just makes sense. I’m happy to read this as my grandkids deserve a great Disney experience and this new Key will only enhance that experience.
I believe that Walt would approve! Disney is an evolving brand that upholds wholesome values, maintaining relevance with the current times. (Such a fine line to walk!). I like the “new” move toward inclusivity (which has been there for a long time), and I have a real admiration for authenticity. This will make your actors and cast members more relatable to more guests, who will become even more bound to the characters, who in turn will become more accepting of all people, all over the world. SPREADING THE LOVE!! ❤️❤️
I love this! I’m so proud to support the Disney company!!!
As a queer 51-year-old lifelong Disney fan, this makes me so happy and gives me a lump in my throat. I would love to see insights to your internal process of the last year that led to this groundbreaking change — perhaps a video series or white papers on the discussions that happened across departments, to “show your work” as an exemplary north-star for other companies and organizations to follow suit. I think it would benefit many amongst your global audience to more fully understand these issues by hearing directly from the human voices behind the corporate name. Kudos to an inclusive new world of Disney magic!
There will always be someone like Debra who can’t wrap their heads around change, and how the world doesn’t revolve around them.
This is a great initiative, that will allow cast members, and therefore guests to feel comfortable, included, and seen at the greatest place on earth. They aren’t saying that cast members will be in regular clothes…… Sheesh.
It’s nice they can express who they are. But this is a job. I always loved seeing the employees in their uniforms. That’s just the way it was. Plus you knew who was the employee and who wasn’t. I disagree with the change. They can be whoever they want to be on their day off.
This is such a welcome addition! I applaud your decision to highlight Inclusion and also couldn’t be happier to see a change regarding cast member tattoos. Your job applicant pool of creative, hard-working individuals just grew significantly!
Thank you, Disney! One of the reasons my family loves Disney so much is that our little one has always felt welcomed and loved while we are there. We don’t get that everywhere and it’s amazing to step onto Main Street and let her just … be. Thank you for all you’ve done in the past and for all you are committing your company to in the future.
Way to go, Disney!
Thank you so much! This makes the Disney brand even more lovable. <3 To infinity, and beyond!
Congratulation on the new key. It’s definitely the place I feel included! Thank you. Hopefully I will be able to back to the magic. This is they way to go. Very proud.
What a great initiative!
As a lover of all things Disney and former college program cast mate, my heart is exploding with pride. I have never loved a company statement more and I truly hope the change is sincere and remains a Key.
When I hired in as a cast member, the “four keys” were an essential part of my training. This new fifth key is something I learned on my own, working with amazing cast members from all walks of life. II once escorted a gust backstage because it was their time to pray to Mecca, and it was not long after 9/11, so I took them to the area backstage behind StoryBook Land so they could pray in peace, and stayed there to make sure they were undisturbed during their prayer. I’m VERY happy to see this fifth key become an official part of training. Kudos to Disney for making this leap. ALL guests are welcome, no matter their race, creed, religion, gender identity, or anything else. EVERYBODY is welcome at a Disney park. As a cast member or as a guest. And this is fantastic.
I love the fact that you said the world is changing and you will change with it! I have been going to Disneyland since I was 5 years old and I am now 65. It is my most favorite place to be!!!
Inclusion is a much-needed Fifth Key, and I love that Disney is invoking it.